Help Issue 2 - Part II - Copyright 1988 Mary Pride, 1997 Home Life, Inc.

Mrs. J.C., Tennessee

The letters you printed brought back a great deal of memories of pain and what I had personally gone through in my sterilization, as after seven children, my husband felt he did not have "the faith" to have all that we could have had had we continued in the same course of no contraception as in the past.

The story is too long to tell all of it here, but I will briefly share points of it in hopes that you might see another side of the coin from a believer who wants God's highest and best blessings in my life as well. Because my husband has an extremely demanding job and stays fatigued a great deal of the time from lack of sleep due to his job. He said he no longer could be the kind of father he knew he should be to anymore children.

Your chapter on children in The Way Home almost could have been written by him eighteen years ago, but because of his body wearing out, he felt seven was enough and he had lived up to the faith God had given him, and because he felt this way, he wanted one of us to be sterilized. Well, I was devastated, had always felt the whole procedure was not of God, possibly given because of "hardness of heart", but certainly not what I ever dreamed he could ever consider. . .

Although I knew I could not violate my husband's wishes by having more children as I had wished, I still did not want to go through this "trial by fire" as indeed it was. I don't know if there has been a person who faced such a "simple procedure" with such dread and drawing back in my soul as I did, yet I knew I had to go through with it.

I had prayed that the Lord would send "his angel" so to speak in the form of my husband who would say he had decided that we would not go through with it, but that didn't happen and on April 17, 1985 I went through with sterilization at 39 years of age.

Afterwards I went through the most severe depression of my life and cried out to the Lord for his grace and mercy with a prayer that was expressed something like "Lord show me what you have for me in this. Surely there is a better way." A few days later in the aftermath of the above, Val Shepherd, the daughter of Elizabeth Elliot, told me on the phone of reading your book, The Way Home, and its impact on her life, and I had this strong compulsion to order it immediately, and when it came, I devoured it quickly, thinking if I had read it ten days earlier, I could not have gone through the sterilization procedure; however, I knew there was a reason for the delay. Later on after Val and Walt (her husband) had spoken at our church retreat on marriage and family life, I wrote and asked her what she and her husband did about birth control. She wrote back with her reply saying that after her second child, she and Walt had heard about natural family planning and had felt like this is what God had for them in the spacing of their children. . .

After months of reading [about N.F.P] I began to pray for a miracle that my husband would untie my tubes so I could practice N.F.P. as a means of birth control so I could share with others that if God does not give the faith for 10-12 kids, then there is a means of limiting ones family which keeps the integrity of the sexual act intact.. . .The time of abstinence can be used to fast and pray for not only your needs as a family, but also for the church, and the whole world which needs the gospel. 1 Corinthians says that this is a good reason to forego sexual intercourse and since so few Christian couples pray together as they should in the first place, what a wonderful reminder to use the days of abstinence for special prayer as you fast sexually. I have never personally talked to a couple who ever gave up sex to pray fervently.

Surely there must be a few.... Just as fasting from food is a reminder to pray, so can fasting from intercourse be a reminder to pray.

Romans 12:3 says that we are to have a "sane estimate of our capabilities" as "God has dealt to every man a measure of faith." (Philips version, her paraphrase) I had the faith to have more children, but my husband did not. His "measure of faith" was finished with seven, therefore, because I was not gifted enough to keep the house as clean and efficient and do all else that I had to do in such a way as to relieve his exhaustion and sense of responsibility, I of course, could not insist on thwarting him in the area of children. . . .

By the way if you really want all the children you can have, you should never breast feed because that will usually space your babies 18-24 months and without it you might have one every year, like the world's record multip mother of 58!

. . . I personally think God has greatly gifted you with a quick, decisive, mind, a strong body and a husband with equal complimentary abilities and because of these gifts, sovereignly bestowed, I think God has given you the faith to do what you are doing. However, I hope you realize it is God's gift to you as there are some people out there who would like to "have all they can" but are unable to because their believing spouse says NO!

. . . It has been my observation that most people can handle three to four children and be very busy, a few more can make it with 5-6, then 7-8, but it is the rare 20th century couple who can physically, emotionally, and organizationally handle a really large (9-12) family because of the way our culture is structured. One almost has to back off from what most people do and live in an isolated fashion. Most Christians don't have the skill to do this. You are one of the ones who is helping, but even Edith Schaeffer only had four, and if she had had eight, I doubt they could have ministered to all they ministered to at L'Abri.

I would like to encourage you to offer a Biblical, spiritual "way out" for those believers who feel uncomfortable with what our culture offers in the way of artificial birth control and yet do not have the God given faith " to pursue a limitless family .. .

Another comment: You said in your book that you didn't know of any people who wouldn't want all the rewards of presents God you'd give them with the exception of course, children. However, there is another blessing of Scripture that believers do not want and that is the blessing of suffering.

. . . Another observation - there is one mention in the N.T. which refers to a time when it is not a blessing to have children and that is during the destruction of Jerusalem when Jesus says "blessed are those who never bore or gave suck" because of the horrible suffering of those days so there is a sense in which there could be a time when children being brought to birth would not bring the usual joy.

This letter raises many important points.

  1. Is it OK to refuse a blessing for lack of faith?
  2. What about having children in evil times?
  3. Should a wife submit to her husband's demand that they not have children?
  4. Is suffering a blessing, and what should our attitude be toward it?

It also raises a less significant point or two, which I will answer first.

  1. Of course God's chosen way of breastfeeding is not to be rejected in favor of earlier conception. The whole point of The Way Home is that we should do things God's way! Child-bearing is not in competition with child nurturing--rather, as we follow God's ENTIRE plan, they work together.
  2. No, I am not Superwoman. If anything, I am less healthy and energetic than most of my friends. My greatest "special asset" is truly Bill, who behaves as any Christian man ought to towards his wife--i.e., as a gentleman.

    I will leave the question about faith for others to answer, maybe throwing in some comments of my own in next issue, depending on if they would be helpful or superfluous. Re having children in evil times--this reader is quite right. When intense persecution strikes (e.g. Christians hauled off to jail and killed) "those who have wives should live as thought they had none{ (I Cor 7:29). Some think that when Paul had just said, "The time is short," he was referring to the imminent downfall of Jerusalem. Just before then, the church was intensely persecuted, and it did make sense for Christians not to get married, and for those married not to have sexual relations--living as though they had no wife or husband. Our times are not yet that evil, and I believe it is sinful to commit ourselves to the belief that they must remain this evil or get worse. God can still send revival, if we repent.

  3. Should a woman allow her husband to dictate the number of their children? I have plenty to say on this subject, but again would like to see what YOU say.
  4. Is suffering a blessing? Suffering FOR JESUS is called a "gift"--"It has been given you not only to believe on the Lord Jesus, but to suffer for his sake." Truly, our rejection of all pain and our rejection of the work involved in bearing and raising children do go together. A sounder love of Christ and willingness to suffer for him would eliminate 90% of the reasons men and women give for refusing children.

Deborah Mertens, Easton, MN

I have attended the NFP series twice. I just finished The Way Home, and understand why you are critical of their attitudes. I have concluded that NFP is still valuable in its ability to help pinpoint conception to establish an accurate due date and as an aid to predict the onset of menses. Some may consider these two points of information useless or unnecessary, but many have found them helpful. The other point I appreciated about the NFP teaching is that there are other ways to show love to each other than only intercourse. They bring out that couples found ways to say, "I love you," without going to bed before marriage, so why not employ a few of these techniques during times of abstinence. I know God ordained sex within marriage as the ultimate expression of love, but it should not have to replace gentleness, affection, manners and curtesy during all our other working hours.

I have two friends who teach the series, and one of them told me some couples are using NFP to space babies and then the wife intends to have her tubes tied when they are "done having children." I didn't understand the connection until reading your statements. I came back from the conference and talked with the other teaching friend, and she said she and her husband had reached the same conclusion as you, namely, it should be God's business to decide how many blessings and when, not ours.

Martha Pugacz, Ohio

Guess I already told you that I don't care for the word "pregnant"! It sounds so harsh and like a disease. When we were growing up we hardly noticed women with child (people didn't ask stupid questions then), but at about 16 I began to notice and we called it the Blessed Way. Doesn't that sound better?

Elizabeth Ensley, Louisiana

I also thought you might like like to know that God used the first issue of your newsletter to prevent some friends from being sterilized after the birth of their third child. The wife is such a "natural" mother, it really grieved a couple of us that they thought they wanted no more children. But your article made them see the dangers in saying, "Today I want no more, so tomorrow I won't either."

I have a couple of ideas for future newsletters.

  1. Suggested answers from your vast experience to commonly heard questions and statements. You gave some good examples in Portland - surely your "audience" could supply you with their most frustrating questions - or you could just search your own experience for the common ones. Maybe you could get suggestions from other readers on how they handled remarks. [EDITOR'S NOTE: See Bill's answers to some of these questions at the back of this issue.]
  2. Book reviews of good and bad books.
You are probably already planning this, but I would like to suggest a book I was very surprised at. It's A Woman's Workshop on Mastering Motherhood, by Barbara Bush. (Lamplighter Books, Zondervan, 1981) My church chose to use this book for a mothers' Bible study and I went in fear and trepidation of what awfulness I would find. I found almost none and in fact, there were several great sections. Example: In the chapter on Building Self Esteem in Children, Bush says, "One of my particular peeves is the way some people seem to need to know whether or not every child was 'planned.'... I can't imagine what effect it has on a child to hear he was unplanned, or to be called 'our little mistake' or 'an accident.'... Christians can always say their child was planned, if someone should have the poor taste to inquire. God planned their child's life." Her chapter on sibling relationships is the first time I have ever seen Matthew 18 applied to families - and it makes sense! She teaches you how to teach your children to follow Biblical principles in settling sibling disputes. As a mother of four, she meets the qualifications of an older woman teaching younger women - and it shows. Anyway - considering how often churches feel obligated to have "motherhood" studies, it might help others to know there is a basically sound alternative available.

Book reviews are a good idea. You write 'em, we'll print 'em.

P.K., Minnesota

Pro-life International of Washington, D.C. sent me a copy of The Way Home which I just finished reading. It hits our modern soul-void right where all the trouble starts. At 91, I still say the prayers my mother taught me. "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." "Man's difficulty is God's opportunity" and you in a wonderful way are helping God to bring his solution to the confused world.

CH, Texas

The major mistake of my life was: a. getting a divorce, and b. allowing my ex to have custody of our son. In May, 1983 the ex remarried and moved his family (my son) to Seattle, Washington. It hurt so much! I prayed that he would return. In April, 1986 he did return, and has been with us since. When I mentioned home schooling to the ex - he said, "No!" He would take Steven back if I ever did that. So I considered a custody suit. I talked to a home school lawyer and he encouraged me, not to be the type of Christian that never does anything - which I am not. He thought I had a pretty good case. I did some reading at the library and learned that the minute I filed suit, THE STATE would take custody, probably awarding me (they could do anything they want) temporary custody, until the court ruled! Forget that! The Lord has led me to just trust him on this. Steven has been with us for more than a year and his dad has no plans to take him back. And all I've done is Pray. Next fall I hope to at least put Steven in a private school. And we are going to have "Summer school".

Martha Pugacz, Ohio

The one girl who asked about having a baby so soon after marriage - I went up to her and told her a little of our story - We had our first 9 months, 5 days after we were married. What a relief it was to just know that we were able to have Blessings! In those days, even though we were not for birth control, you first had to have a baby to establish your fertility before you used something. How would you even know IF YOU ARE ABLE TO HAVE CHILDREN!

TH, California

We've been married almost 5 years and worked either full-time or part-time during our married life. We thought if we worked hard the first couple of years, then I could quit. Then we built our house and decided on two more years. Sometimes I thought it would go on and on! But now I see a change. At least we're talking about children.

Getting back to my husband and I with our problems or differences. I remember one chapter discussing fears. I feel he has one that wasn't mentioned; which someone else brought up at our Bible Study. That is: A Good Marriage in "our eyes" lasting. "Why take the risk with children? I'm happy with you as my wife." I know it's selfish and wrong, but I can understand why he says or thinks this way. He can't handle frustrating situations very well. When day to day problems build up, it really gets to him.

HS, Oklahoma

I don't know if you have any plans to address the cultural compromise of today's theology in more depth, such as the positive thinking, prosperity in terms of wealth, and the incredible total woman. I certainly hope so, for I would like our pastor to read it. Yesterday during church announcements, we heard that "Women's night out" which is every Monday evening, would be an overnight "slumber party" ... we also have Men's night out, and Men's prayer breakfast. Why this segregation? Why this separation of families? When our homeschooled, non-TV-watching children told us some of the things they hear from the children in their Sunday School class and Youth Choir, in terms of blasphemies, disrespect to the teachers, "Ninjas" and such, while teachers helplessly struggle to regain control of their class, I wonder why we get so much pressure to send our children to these classes... so we adults can worship without interruptions. Even Pharaoh didn't mind if the adults went to worship God as long as they left their little ones behind.

M.T., Ohio

I was in a Sunday School class in a Bible-believing church in our hometown a few weeks ago and I have had a sense of depression over it since. I was trying to share Deut. 6 with this group of young parents. We got into a really good practice (after reading that scripture many times) of Bible reading in Proverbs first thing in the morning, a reading from a Christian character book before nap time, and 10 verses from whatever book we happen to be reading before bedtime. We make a point of sharing God 3 times/day. I was trying to explain this and was practically bombed out of the class. A doctor's wife told me that I must just have much more faith than she did if I expected this plan to save my kids from teenage rebellion (we were discussing the Dobson films). Another woman saw no problem with her 3 daughters dating non-Christians. I mentioned that there was nothing in the Bible to support her premise. And she let me know what a good plan this is to lead others to Christ. She boasted that her daughter's best friend was a non-Christian. Of course, we have to be a "light" in a dark world, but yoking with the unsaved is a real problem for me. I just can't get over how we have been duped as a society.

If this method of evangelism is so effective, how come her daughter's best friend is still a non-Christian?

HS, Oklahoma

We read Creative Counterparts by Linda Dillow which had a comment about abortion which you would be surprised to read in a Christian book. In effect, if your husband wanted to have the baby aborted, you ought to submit to him. I knew that Ananias and Sapphira both died for doing wrong by trying to deceive the Holy Spirit. In our Bible study they told us that if we obey our husband and submit to him, we will not be accountable for what he asked us to do, that he alone would be the one accountable to God. Again, I know that when the king of Israel, Jeroboam, caused the people to sin, God was angry, not only with the king, but also the people. God's judgment fell upon them all, whoever was unfaithful to God. Of course, my husband would never ask me to rebel against God, but that teaching was very wrong, even if no one who reads the Bible can accept it.

M.T., Ohio

I found your comments in the tapes about Dobson hitting close to home. We appear pretty radical to most people, especially to Christians, but whenever I mention Dobson's name, it always lends a hand to credibility. Have you seen Dobson's latest films where he says that Prov. 22:6 is only a probability and that many children from good Christian homes go astray and that it really isn't the fault of the parents? That's when I decided Dr. Dobson was truly only human!! I wrote to his ministry and mentioned that I really don't know of many Christian parents who bother to "train" their children anymore. Kids are rushing off to school, parents to meetings and work and I just asked the simple question, "When do Christian parents train their children when they rarely see them?" I got a nice letter back from a staff member restating Dr. Dobson's position that it may not be the fault of the parents. The sad part is that I have been in several places where this film has been discussed and the parents are so relieved to hear that they really aren't responsible for their kids if the children happen to opt for plan B. I've had some lively discussions because I cling to that promise that if I do my work in training now, I won't have such a hardship later on with teenage rebellion. At any rate, I still love Dr. Dobson. He has a wonderful family ministry, but I, too, believe that we have to stick to God's word, not someone else's interpretation (or misinterpretation) of it.

Proverbs 22:6 is of no use to someone who believes in no-fault parenting. They spend time with the verse because any straightforward reading of it contradicts their teaching.

Let's get God into the picture. Parents cannot save their children or hold them to the early teaching they receive. Salvation is an act of God in the heart of each person, and sanctification is a working out of that salvation, also under God.

If a mason promises that he will repair your chimney if you give him $1000, then all we consider is if his word is good. In Proverbs 22, we have the promise of God, who is going to be doing the work, that if we faithfully train up our children he will make it stick. If you can't trust God, who can you trust? So we should do our part and be diligent in training our children.--BILL

Martha Pugacz, Ohio

We have found that if parents go out without their children and saddle down the elder ones to babysit constantly, that these girls grow up and DON'T WANT TO HAVE CHILDREN, saying, "We've been caring for children for years."

SB, Missouri

We ditched our TV set again for the 3rd time in our marriage. The first time we got rid of the TV, my husband's Grandma thought we depriving ourselves and bought us a new one for Valentine's Day!!!

A.G., Mississippi

. . . Anyway, I do hope you will find time after deadlines are met to rest and refresh yourselves spiritually and physically. I don't think you should look at it as "goofing off" anymore than you would consider Sunday a "goof-off" day. Here in the New Testament era we don't have as many "sabbaths" as they had in the Old Testament. I guess God left it up to us to decide when we needed a break other than the regular weekly one. I was just very concerned when you said you were about to "collapse" before Bill quit his regular job.

I guess I am saying this because it seems the world is watching the mothers of big families just hoping they'll collapse to prove their point that nobody should have more than two children. I know a mother of seven who always looks tired and run-down. Every time you see her with her little flock she is making facial expressions that say, "These kids are driving me nuts," or "Don't expect my kids to behave; you can see I have a handful." It really is a bad testimony to everyone and seems to deny the fact that children are a blessing. I guess it made me realize that if I want other Christians to fulfill their duty of childbearing then I must make sure that I project the truth by my words, expressions, and actions that my children are indeed a blessing and that God has given me the peace and strength it takes to care for them and train them. Evidently, God has truly given me that strength and peace because numerous people have said, "I don't see how you do it. You always seem so calm and peaceful. My two kids always keep me on edge. How do you stay so under control with four?" Really, I did not know that I looked that way. But my husband got a video camera for Christmas and taped me. As I watched myself I was really surprised at what I looked like. I never looked nervous at all with my kids, but that has been the scene so much with other mothers that I guess I was that way too.

Last week when I was home Mom had a Home Life magazine (a Southern Baptist publication). In it a woman wrote an article on why she does not spank her children. It was a horrible article. Totally unbiblical. Near the end she revealed that her children were eight and ten years old. The way I look at it, if children have been well-trained before age eight, it would be a rare occasion indeed that would ever need a spanking after age eight. My question is, why don't those people who know so much about how to train and discipline children wait until their own children are grown to write so we can see if their methods are really good ones in the long run? Do you know who I asked about how to raise children? Not the "expert" child psychologist whose teenagers are on drugs. Not the preacher whose son got his girlfriend pregnant. I asked the mothers who had grown children who had all turned out to be godly men and women.


Alida Gookin sent an article from the Memphis Commercial Appeal telling about a woman who was widowed while pregnant with her twelfth little one in twelve years.

She didn't think she could raise twelve all by herself, but this year she is 62 and her youngest hopes to graduate college next year. Every one of her 11 surviving children went to college and they're all working and making a living.

She says, "I have never got food stamps, I have never got welfare since my husband died."

The children all recently chipped in 50 dollars each to send their Mom to Washington to visit a daughter and four grandchildren.

There is nothing in the article to indicate that this woman is a Christian. Yet she raised eleven kids and sent them through college and the family still is cohesive enough to plan a surprise for their mother.

Explain this woman. Where did she get the "faith" to raise all those children. She just did what she had to.--Bill

J.W., Arizona

It is with much frustration that I write this letter. Why is it that we Christians just can't seem to get our act together?

My husband and I have eight children ranging from 7 months to 18 years. We really love children and feel that we have been ordained of God to have a lot of children. Our problem lies with our "Christian friends".

It's amazing how we never seem to get any flack from our secular acquaintances, but rather from those who know us best. We even had one couple (our prayer partners) tell us that they wanted to end the friendship because they felt that my husband was "abusing my body" by causing me to have so many children.

Just yesterday at a book sale in the middle of a large shopping center, I had a "sister in Christ" ask me how many more we were planning on having. And earlier in the week, a "sister" whom I hadn't seen in a number of years said: "Why Jessica, when I saw you with the baby I thought, "surely she isn't going to nurse the baby, surely she is just holding it;' but then you started nursing and I couldn't believe it!!" The baby she referred to is only seven months old. Then she went on to ask how many children we have and are we planning any more.

Why can't people realize that it is rude to ask such personal questions? Weren't any of the women in the baby boomers era taught any manners? I guess I'll just have to learn to say, "I really feel that is very personal and I hope you won't be offended if I don't answer that question." It angers me that I have to justify my "blessings" to others.

(From a later letter)
Of course you can quote me. I'd be blessed. I only wrote you because I knew you would understand my frustrations. It would add some spice to my day. After all, we live such a dull life - you know, sheep living in the bathtub, dogs having puppies in the carpet while the roof is leaking and I'm trying to make ketchup, all in the same day. Same old ordinary stuff!! Actually that happened a couple of years ago. This week it is the hamster having babies, a surprise birthday party, a new horse arriving, and a piano recital.

It is better to go on the offensive when someone looks like he or (more likely) she is about to open fire. If you appear sufficiently pleased with your children, many people never say anything rude at all. Towards this end, Edith Schaeffer recommends dressing children alike in nice clothes when you go out. People tend to gush over clean, nicely-dressed, well-behaving children and complain about lively, dirty tykes. But even so, some folks just can't resist the chance to knock large families. So try these answers. We use them, and invariably the questioner gets the point.

Q. "Are these all yours?"
A. "Yes, isn't it wonderful how God has blessed us?" or "Yes, they are. Please don't be jealous."

Q. "You have five children?"

A. "Yes, only five, but it's a start."

Q. "How many children are you planning to have?"

A. "We're not planning. God hasn't given us one we want to give back, yet. We'll just let him decide when we should stop."

We welcome any suggestions you can add to this list.

H.S., Saskatchewan

What is a good response to people who make you feel guilty because you are being "lazy" and not going out to earn some money? Especially when you are trained in a profession (teacher)

I am made to feel like I'm lazy because I don't go out to work. I am involved in a farming operation and I used to go out and drive the machinery and shovel grain - typical "men's work" on the farm back when I was "liberated". (This was also while I was practicing planned barrenhood.) I now have a little girl and really don't want to go out to drive machinery and shovel grain and to let my mother babysit so that I can do these jobs I mentioned. I get the feeling from my mother-in-law that I am making her poor son do all the work. These women are both Christians and they seemed much happier with me when I was "liberated". (They have both worked outside the home and their kids turned out all right, didn't they?)

I've started a typing service from home, I want to write, and I've been working on a needlepoint kit which I hope to market. I sew, I've been learning to make some of our own food, I read, am involved in the La Leche League and am doing some knitting for a local craft store. I also play the piano and teach Sunday School on a scheduled basis at church. I planted a garden and grew enough in it (last year) to supply us with vegetables and strawberries for the winter months. I do try not to be lazy - although I will admit my house is not always "as clean as a whistle". I also have a Bible study with one other mother whom I met at La Leche League once a week. (We're the only two Christians I know who are willing to have a Bible study without hiring a "sitter" to get rid of our children for us so we can piously study God's word while we shirk the job of caring for our small children.)

Where is the master of the house, and protector of the wife? What's his opinion on all this?

How would you answer the accusation that a woman is lazy because she wants to stay home and take care of her little one herself?

W.H., California

G___ and I are using no birth control but trusting in the Controller of all things for additions to our family. This is not easy because breast feeding does not forestall my regular cycle and I have had morning sickness (all day) with each pregnancy, but especially with H___. I lost 20 pounds in three weeks, and was hospitalized two days with dehydration. I thought I was going to die. B6 shots and an IV snapped me out of it. Thankfully she was getting all the goods, she is healthy and thriving. I would like to have confidence for home birth. The midwives in our area, one is Mormon and the other claims to be a Christian. She is separated from her second husband and has children from both. I deeply care about the lifestyle of the person attending our children's birth, but on the other hand, I don't even know what lifestyle the nurses at the hospital have! Maybe the books I ordered will help us figure it all out. Our family is well and happy. G___ and I are working together as never before. I am crazy about the husband the Lord gave me.

L.S., Illinois

I was telling her [a friend at church] a little about the Reconstruction Conference. [A]n elder walked into the kitchen and stood listening to this. Then he challenged me. He didn't care for what I was saying at all. He told me, very authoritatively and condescendingly, that things were the way they were today, the state had the authority over these areas (welfare, education, etc.) and it was our duty, according to scripture to be obedient to this authority. He quoted "Give to Caesar ... etc." When I answered that these speakers did not suggest violent rebellion, but rather to straighten up our own families first and use the freedoms we did have lest they be removed, he told me that the "family" I spoke of wasn't possible, either. He said that most women today have to work, and that's just the way it is. Further, he said he didn't see anything wrong with it at all. I referred to Titus 2, and meekly pointed out that the scripture does not support the idea of women working outside the home. At this point, he became irate and said, "L____, it is not wrong for women to work outside the home, it's not a sin." He was clearly angry with me, so I did not hazard any other defense. I did remark that I didn't claim working outside the home was a "sin", but just that the Scripture did not seem to support or endorse it in any way. Boy, was I ever glad that he didn't come in earlier, when B____ and I were sharing our views on family planning. B____ may not agree whole-heartedly with my views, but at least she doesn't chew me up and spit me out!

B__ and I both feel like we are becoming increasingly ostracized in our church. Our views are "radical" to those around us. The minister, despite the fact that our class has agreed whole-heartedly against any form of abortion, seemed loath to present the facts I offered him against use of IUDs or vasectomies (from your book and last issue of HELP). I don't know whether he thought it would open a can of worms, or what. The children of our members, who we try to teach in Junior Church, are wild, disrespectful, and too salvation-sure. Their parents seem confident, also, that the Lord is on their team. It is difficult for us to hold firm in the face of all of this. People at church really believe that we are the ones in error, that our views are "too far off base", that we are just immature Christians and in dire need of "straightening out".

To make matters worse, when I read my Bible, as I did, searchingly, when I arrived home last night, I see scripture that advises churches to warn, then cast out "divisive" members. We are on the verge, I would say, of being "divisive". There are several families (three to be exact), whom we have been somewhat together in spirit with, even before B__ and I "went off the deep end". These families do not go so far as we do, but think our church has become spiritually dead and fruitless. There is some talk about starting a new church. I don't know whether Bob and I would want to be part of this or not, or if we will have any choice, if, indeed, it comes to pass.

... Romans 13:1-5 seems clearly to tell us to submit to civil authority. How far, and in what context, is this submission to go? ...

It troubles me, also, that there are so few references to the family structure and family life. ...

Bill says:

  1. On authority, see Acts 4:19, 5:29 and surrounding stories. Romans 13 has to be read with the exception in Acts 4 and 5 in mind. If a government becomes a terror to the ones who do good and a friend to evildoers, then it is a corrupt authority and we are supposed to follow God instead of man. The same principle applies to a husband who commands his wife to sin, or a parent who commands his child to sin: the wife or child must do what is right before God and bear the consequences.

  2. There is enough in the Bible about family structure for those who have an open heart to God. There probably would have been more, had it been written in our times, because our families are in tougher shape. So he that has ears to hear let him hear.

by Paul deParrie

An informed citizen can make a real difference.


When answering questions, do not be expansive. A simple "Yes" or "No" is best. Don't mention career qualifications, volunteer work, ministries or educational degrees unless specifically asked. Neither defense attorneys nor district attorneys like intelligent jurors; they prefer people who watch "Gilligan's Island" reruns.

Never disqualify yourself for having "strong feelings" on the issue, even if the judge asks you to. Only disqualify yourself if you are absolutely incapable of a fair judgment on the matter. Proverbs 29:11.


The jury is the sole judge of both facts and law. The judge is there as a referee only. You determine the pertinent facts and decide how much weight to give each fact. You may even take into account facts the judge instructs you to ignore.

As sole judges of the law, it is up to jurors to decide if the law is right, constitutional, and fair. This is the historical purpose of the jury in America. Citizens must be protected from bad or unevenly enforced laws, and juries are the perfect tool for this purpose.

Even should the judge tell you otherwise, it is your duty to render a verdict of "not guilty" to one who is actually guilty of violating impostor laws [such as the laws against preventing abortions through peaceful sit-ins]. A verdict of "not guilty" cannot be reversed and you cannot be questioned or punished for your verdict.

Jurors are not merely an arm of the court. You are not there only to serve their needs or to decide strictly whether or not someone broke the law. You are there to protect against ultimate injustice and assure ultimate justice.

(These are questions handed in at our Family Opportunity Workshop. The answers are Bill's.)

Q. What would you recommend as the first step for men to become more involved with their families, etc., when the pressure they feel from their jobs, etc. is so great - especially like for pastors as you mentioned them being the servant of so many others?

A. Deuteronomy 6:4 charges Israel to impress God's law on their children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. From this verse I draw two conclusions:

  1. If you are to be able to give your family the kind of quality spiritual instruction, then you have to spend a lot of time with them. You could say, "I'll just let my wife do that, I am too busy putting bread on the table," but Psalm 78:3,5 says that the command to teach the children was given to their forefathers, not their foremothers. It was the man who had the spiritual headship of the family.

    The first thing to do, therefore, if you have no time to spend being the spiritual head of the family because of your outside responsibilities, is start praying and looking for an alternative to excess outside responsibilities, whether it is cutting back on the amount of work, changing jobs, or whatever other solution God provides.

    Often television is the villain which steals your good worship and teaching time. You just have to decide which is more important to you, your T.V. shows, or your fami-ly's spiritual well being and act appropriately.

  2. If you have the time, start "impressing" your family with God's commands. The best way is to start with family worship. Set a time that is devoted to Bible reading, prayer, singing, and teaching every day. Try to make worship a strict every-day-at-the- same-time activity, otherwise you'll find that you start to skip days, and that the days skipped start to multiply until the only practical thing to do is quit altogether and start afresh.

Q. Do you feel that your standing up and putting down the "NEED" for experts to tell us how to guide our lives, is somewhat of a paradox by standing up and being an expert and telling us how to do it?

A. In John 5:41-44 Jesus compares men who come in their own name and himself who came in God's. If we come and say you should do this or that without quoting any biblical justification for it, we fall under Jesus's condemnation and we are hypocrites.

But, if we come saying this is what God says in this chapter and this verse, then it is your job to determine if we have accurately reported what God said. If we told you the truth, then it is not us that say it, but God. God is the only trustworthy expert.

If we speak from our experience, then you have to test our wisdom against the Bible, and if it rings true, then take it as good advice, but not as the oracle of God.

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